Even trivial images should contain source information–what you know or think is obvious others will not. Any reasoning should be briefly included on the image so others can be aware of it. Not all items are as mundane as a grocery list, but any image you create of a personal item should include some provenance and sourcing information. In some cases there may even be a story to include with the item. And sometimes the most common of images can cause us to remember the best stories.
The US Federal government did not just take population census schedules. There were occasional census schedules that asked about manufacturing, agricultural production, mortality during the year preceding the census date, and various other social statistics. Most of these supplemental schedules were maintained during the 1850-1880 period, but there are exceptions. It’s possible to learn something about your relative in the census besides who is in the household (depending upon the year).
You are researching your ancestor in a new location. Unless your ancestor moved from the upstairs bedroom to the downstairs bedroom, there’s the chance she crossed a political boundary. Crossing that boundary means: laws may change types of records available may change records access may change information contained in records may change your ancestor’s citizenship status may change or something else Learning about these things in the new location will help your research. Don’t assume that the address was the only thing that changed when your ancestor moved. ———————– I’m very grateful to our sponsor GenealogyBank for their continued support of Genealogy Tip of the Day. Their latest offer for readers, fans, and followers is running through the end of the month.
Is it possible that your ancestors took a train to a nearby county seat to elope? Some couples would venture to a nearby county’s county seat so that the license would not be published in their own local newspaper. During the right time period, the train could be a quick way to do that and keep locals from finding out the news before the couple was ready to disclose it.
This 1884 biography of an ancestor indicated that some of his children were dead. They may have been dead for decades or may have died just before the book was compiled. Daughter Elizabeth (Chaney) Rampley actually died in 1884 and her death serves as a reminder to take care in using published materials as “proof of alive by dates.” Individuals not listed as deceased could have died after the compilation date or could have lost touch with the family–in which case no one really knew if they were alive or not.
Those names that were immediately before and after your ancestor on a census or a tax list probably lived relatively near your ancestor, but do not assume that they shared a property line or lived a ten minute walk from each other. My paternal grandparents who lived on a farm during the 1940 census enumeration are on the same page with people who lived in the same township, but were actually three or four miles away. The adjacent landowners are enumerated nearby, but are not the names before and after my grandparents.
Searching female ancestors in many countries is complicated by the female adopting the last name of her husband at her marriage. Think about those things that do not change when trying to search for that female relative after her marriage: her first and, if she has one, middle names her date and place of birth her parents–she may have lived near them after her marriage. They may have lived with her in their old age. the names of her brothers–she may have lived near them after her marriage the names of her unmarried sisters–they may have lived with her at some point in their lives. All of these can be ways to search finding aids to some records in your attempts to find the missing married female ancestor.
Before searching at any site that allows wildcards, make a list of all the search variations you will be using. It’s easy to overlook one if the list is “in your head.”
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The way a clerk or scribe makes his letters can change even within a document–sometimes. This clerk who wrote this 1880-era affidavit from Nebraska made his lower case “e” differently in different places in the document. It’s still an “e” no matter how he made it.
In our attempts to locate living relatives, we sometimes ignore those ancestral siblings and cousins who left no children of their own. After all they have no descendants with whom we can make contact. That is true, but records on the childless relative may provide more details on earlier family members and how the estate of the childless relative was disbursed may mention previously unknown relatives. And completely researching the relative without children is always advised in order to obtain a complete picture of the family.
In many record sets an ancestor’s name should appear only once, but there are exceptions. People get “double counted” in census records regularly–sometimes because they moved and other times because they had two residences. In some cases amended birth or death certificates may be filed. This is sometimes done with birth certificates for adoptions and with death certificates if the cause of death needs to be changed. People can easily be listed on property tax rolls in more than one location if they own property in more than one location. And individuals (or even couples) can appear as a bride or groom on more than one marriage record.
When records are microfilmed or digitized, sometimes the occasional item is missed or filmed out of order. Find someone who is familiar with the original records in their original form. They may be able to tell you if there were issues with the filming or digitization of the records.
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A 1980s song from the group “Men at Work” mentions a Vegemite sandwich. Having no personal connections to Australia, from which the band hailed, I concluded the words were “bit of my” sandwich. It sounded correct to me and was the most logical interpretation I could come up with at the time. There’s several quick reminders or lessons here: don’t assume our initial conclusions may be incorrect our ancestors might not have heard a clerk’s questions correctly the clerk may not have heard our ancestor’s answers correctly being unfamiliar with a culture or dialect may be what is causing our “problem”  
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